Tab for Teaching English put at $3 Billion

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Aug 3 14:31:39 UTC 2007

August 1, 2007, 1:21 pm
Tab for Teaching English Put at $3 Billion

*June Kronholz reports on immigration.*

The cost of teaching English to 12 million legal and illegal adult
immigrants now in the U.S. would approach $3 billion a year, says the
Migration Policy Institute in a new
likely to add fuel to an immigration fight that seemed to have cooled

The Washington-based nonpartisan think tank said that bringing the
5.8million legal immigrants to a level of English proficiency that
would enable
them to get involved in civic life would cost $200 million a year for six
years. That would be in addition to the $1 billion currently spent by the
federal and state governments on English-language classes for adults.

The bigger expense, by far, would involve teaching English to about
6.4million currently illegal immigrant adults if Congress should pass
a broad
legalization program, like one that failed in the Senate this summer. That
bill would have required immigrants to learn English as one step toward
earning legal status.

Were that to pass, the Migration Policy Institute said English-language
costs would increase by $2.9 billion a year for six years. It calculated
that illegal immigrants would need 319 million hours of English classes a
year, or about 660 hours each over six years.

The cost of integrating illegal immigrants was among many objections to the
Senate bill, although opponents focused on health, education and
social-security spending. Adding English-language classes to the cost will
be only one more objection when an immigration bill resurfaces, probably
after the 2008 elections.

The Migration Policy Institute suggested that funding for English-language
classes could come from the $30 billion that it says illegal immigrants have
paid into Social Security over the years, or that employers who hire
immigrant workers could be required to help pay.

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